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Utah

Peeved patient proud of penny protest

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  • We the People Sandy, UT
    June 6, 2011 11:24 a.m.

    From the facts presented here, I believe that this man's citation is completely bogus.

  • Danish American Payson, UT
    June 6, 2011 11:37 a.m.

    You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats procedure in everything and outcomes are nothing. Thomas Sowell

    This applies to both government and business.

  • man of few words Salt Lake City, UT
    June 6, 2011 11:38 a.m.

    Pennies are considered Legal Tender, so what's the problem?!

  • RR_Xing San Diego, CA
    June 6, 2011 11:46 a.m.

    Next time, don't dump out the pennies.

  • Hunt Spanish Fork, UT
    June 6, 2011 11:46 a.m.

    I've had my fair share of issues with Doctors offices who swear up and down that with my insurance that the copay would be the only thing I owe only to have them call me later telling me I owed much more.
    I chalk this up to them using antiquated accounting systems and staff that think they know what they are talking about.

  • John Harrison Sandy, UT
    June 6, 2011 11:57 a.m.

    138 lbs of pennies is $250 worth of pennies. Was he paying $25 or $250? The article is less than clear.

    In any case, if he had already paid he should have a receipt or credit card statement to prove that he did so. No reason for this to escalate to dumping a mess of pennies on somebody's desk.

  • Bompar Provo, Utah
    June 6, 2011 11:58 a.m.

    I'm with the penny guy; if the situation is accurately reported, it smacks of free speech. What a teaching moment should the clinic and local officials need to defend their actions in court. Go Penny Man! You might well get every penny back.

  • beetdiggingcougar Provo, UT
    June 6, 2011 12:06 p.m.

    It'd be nice if the doctor's name was printed. It wouldn't be the first time a doctor's office made a mistake. Sounds like that clerk was on a power trip.

  • TCnewsie Tooele, UT
    June 6, 2011 12:07 p.m.

    Wow, the penny guy really showed them. Not only did he make himself look like a child to the media and the doctor's office but now he has another fine to pay. Dumping them out is where he went wrong, he should of just given them a big jar but the little guy had to prove his little point.

  • boatersteve Fruit Heights, Utah
    June 6, 2011 12:08 p.m.

    Having dealt the arrogance of some doctor's office I can understand the frustration. Truly sad part the Vernal police having nothing better to do than investigate the "penny caper". This kind of activity only brings disrepute on the police.

  • MOS was 71331 PEYTON, CO
    June 6, 2011 12:15 p.m.

    Is it illegal in Utah to become angry when you believe you're being unfairly billed by a business? From the description of the incident, an irate customer paid a bill in pennies which he threw on the floor. Other than raising his voice and throwing the pennies, he seems to have done nothing to threaten anyone. The employee who called the police acted ridiculously, and the responding police officers who arrested the customer should be reprimanded. The officers' proper response would have been to tell the clerk who called that they have no jurisdiction to become involved in civil matters. The officers might also have added, "Customers sometimes get angry. Deal with it."

  • Whiteshoes Hurricane, UT
    June 6, 2011 12:38 p.m.

    I have issues with paying the bill in pennies. Have you ever worked a counter before and had to count that kind of change? Think about the time involved. The sole purpose for dumping the pennies was to cause havoc at the office. His method penalized the secretary who is likely unaware of every individual bill. Think about it--that secretary would have had to count the pennies...lots of wasted time.

    Sure, pennies are legitimate currency. However, any responsible citizen would not have acted that way. His point could have been made with rolls of pennies. I expect adults to act like adults (not spoiled children). The citation is well deserved. Be accountable for your actions.

  • Zona Zone Mesa, AZ
    June 6, 2011 12:38 p.m.

    This has to be a protected act under the First Amendment. Clearly, he chose to pay by a legal means. It may not have been an ordinary method, but it was legal, and the reason for choosing so was clearly free speech. No rights of the doctor's office were infringed.

    This case does, however, have an alarming violation of the law--and that is the City of Vernal's refusal to make the initial police reported public, a clear violation of GRAMA. This is no small thing. It appears the City of Vernal (which given its size and location, the city is probably unversed in dealing with media outlets) is skirting the law in what can only be described as a power play. As such, I think there needs to be some more exercising of free speech in this case--speech directed at the City of Vernal to be forthcoming and law compliant.

  • Uncle Gadianton Salt Lake City, Utah
    June 6, 2011 12:50 p.m.

    Based on the information in this article, there has been no crime committed.

  • DryForker VERNAL, UT
    June 6, 2011 12:53 p.m.

    Having dealt with this clinic myself on numerous occasions, I say good for you Jason!! They are rude more often than not! They are always right and you are always wrong. I realize it might not have been the "adult" thing to do but I can empathize with his frustration in dealing with this clinic and think the charges are totally bogus!!

  • just-a-fan Bountiful, UT
    June 6, 2011 12:56 p.m.

    I'd like to thank this guy for giving me a great idea on how to pay a disputed bill with a former landlord. This is exactly what some people deserve. Good job...Did he by any chance say, "a penney for your thoughts?" hahahahah Awesome

  • 4Shore Farmington, Utah
    June 6, 2011 1:38 p.m.

    Of course this guy could've taken the higher road and provided the bag of pennies to the clerk. However, having dealt with clerks who are power hungry and have little if any respect, the penny guy was giving her a taste of her own medicine. There was no crime performed here. It's like dropping 25 $1 bills on the counter with some falling on the floor. He paid his bill in full with an everyday currency. End of story. Again, another stupid case where tax dollars were/will be wasted on a Police Officer and a forthcoming trial.

  • jp3 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 6, 2011 1:54 p.m.

    I'm sure his mother is very proud of him for becoming a nationally-known smart alec...not.

  • TripleCrown Santa Ana, CA
    June 6, 2011 2:15 p.m.

    Ask for a jury trial.

  • Emophiliac Vernal, UT
    June 6, 2011 2:41 p.m.

    Of course, from a one-sided interview, the story seems to back the guy up. As to what the Basin Clinic's story is, I can't say (maybe the Vernal Express will say more on Wednesday).

    The Basin Clinic services many area doctors. I've been there a few times, for physicals and for getting immunizations. Have I felt like the people at the desk were snotty? No, but that doesn't mean that is true for each and every person and visit.

    The interesting question for me is, will the Clinic still allow him to visit a doctor located there? It may be that Jason will be switching to the doctors at the local hospital or maybe even be heading out of town. Seems like most of the doctors around here have more business than they can handle.

  • williary Kearns, UT
    June 6, 2011 3:16 p.m.

    Grow up. You want to be treated like an adult, act like it. Buy some coin sleaves, roll them up, place them on the desk as payment. Don't walk in with a handful of pennies, and toss them all over the desk. Complete disrespect.

    If I'm the doctor, I send him a bill for processing fees for the extra time it took to clean up his mess after he threw a temper tantrum at the doctors office. Can you imagine the kids in the waiting room, acting more adult than this guy was!

  • pabellon Salt Lake City, UT
    June 6, 2011 3:17 p.m.

    This is some great publicity for both this clinic and the police department. I foresee some customer service training in their futures!

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    June 6, 2011 4:09 p.m.

    I just got a bill from a consult with my (ex) orthopedist and he charged the insurance company $2700.00 for a 20 minute exam! At his billing rate $25.00 would buy about 11 seconds! This guy should just pay the 25 bucks and count his blessings.

  • Northern Logan, UT
    June 6, 2011 4:17 p.m.

    Get a lawyer and sue the Doctors office for wrongful prosecution. Then sue the cops for not having a brain to tell the Dr's office these are frivolous charges.

  • phgreek Hooper, UT
    June 6, 2011 4:43 p.m.

    I've dealt with all manner of difficult customers in my day...this one is cut and dried for me...

    rather you run a medical clinic or a wal mart...if a guy gets mad enough at you to take the time to count out 25 Bucks in pennies...I think it is painfully clear YOU failed...not the guy who dumped the pennies.

    It is legal tender, and it appears as though he did nothing more than drop his money on the counter...his happened to be coins. Waste of time to pursue this...

    You folks at the clinic...drop the charges, you already look like COMPLETE and TOTAL hacks.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 6, 2011 5:27 p.m.

    Isn't there legislation in place governing how much of any given denomination anyone is required to accept? I suspect there is. I used to deliver mail to a traffic court. Often people, probably angry with the process, the system, the courts, or just guv'mint in general, would send in payments of pennies in heavy, ugly boxes requiring much postage. The clerks would write 'return to sender' on every one. I used to just laugh at this; no point was proven but a few of us got some exercise.

  • kat Ogden, UT
    June 6, 2011 6:13 p.m.

    I would send it certified mail, return receipt requested, then if it was returned I would have proof that payment was rendered, and refused! Ball in your court!

  • Ricardo Carvalho Provo, UT
    June 6, 2011 6:44 p.m.

    There are usually two sides to every story. I am amazed that Basin Clinic is not coming out with their side of the story - probably afraid of the backlash of putting potential misinformation into the public arena. It will be interesting to see what the witnesses had to say once this hits trial.

    Overall, I would have to say, however, that Basin Clinic have acted stupidly in this case from a PR perspective. Their way of handling this incident is inconsistent with the friendly, family oriented image they convey on their web site. A PR savvy clinic would have laughed about the incident and admitted that it was a clever way for someone to express a disagreement and that they harbored no hard feelings. Instead, they have acted consistently with the way the disgruntled patient has painted them - with hurt feelings and arrogance.

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    June 6, 2011 7:07 p.m.

    Speaking as an office manager for a small private medical practice, this issue simply should not have escalated to the point where this man would feel so frustrated as to act in this manner. Admittedly, it is always the people who owe a $10 or $25 or $50 co-pay that never seem to get around to paying. But whether this fellow had paid in December, as he claims, or not, it's a only $25. My guess is that this amount is less than one tenth of one percent of the annual gross revenue of the clinic. It just isn't worth worrying about.

  • LAL South Jordan, UT
    June 6, 2011 7:42 p.m.

    Penny man, penny man, penny man, penny man, penny man, penny man.....
    You speak for many of us who get frustrated with poor customer service issues as well as billing and insurance problems. Thank you penny man for taking a stand!

  • mountain man Salt Lake City, UT
    June 6, 2011 8:42 p.m.

    Huray for penny man. Get serious police department. It is not a crime to pay your bill in pennies.

  • Kellie Boise, ID
    June 6, 2011 8:48 p.m.

    Don't feel sorry for the office staff. They don't count the pennies; they just put them in a bag and deposit them along with the other cash into their bank. The bank has a machine that counts out the coins in seconds. I would be peeved too if I had to pay $25 TWICE! Serves them right to get 2500 pennies!

    However, if the office DID count out the pennies and waste all that employee time I'd fire them for being imbeciles!

  • Trev Salt Lake City, UT
    June 6, 2011 8:56 p.m.

    Wow a patient that actually tried to pay for services rendered??!! This office should take the pennies all the way to the bank!

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    June 7, 2011 5:58 a.m.

    Come on. Make a hero of this guy?

    Give me a break.

  • windsor City, Ut
    June 7, 2011 6:54 a.m.

    So in another Des News story today, the two state employees who were guilty of publicly releasing "the list" of confidential information just get probation--but this guy gets a $140 fine???

  • Sandy Salt Lake City, UT
    June 7, 2011 8:04 a.m.

    Wow, looks like public sympathy is definitely weighing on the side of Penny Man. Basin Clinic had better have a very good explanation and quickly get it out to the public, or (the better solution) quickly acknowledge their poor handling of it. The new goal: no patient/customer should ever be so provoked by staff that he would go to the trouble Penny Man did, however immature he may be.

    The police may want to get out of this as well. I'll bet they never dreamed it would make the Salt Lake newspapers . . .

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    June 7, 2011 8:28 a.m.

    Go penney guy!

  • Floyd Johnson Broken Arrow, OK
    June 7, 2011 8:31 a.m.

    No case law in Utah, but in a 1997 Ohio case (State v. Carroll) the court ruled an organization was not required to take pennies as payment. The Court concluded: "It defies logic and common sense that this Congress intended such a wooden and broad application of the statute beyond the control of the payee regardless of the circumstances." The Court reasoned that the clerk could "provide a reasonable procedure for the place, time and manner of accepting fines consistent with the efficient operation of the clerk's office."

    The appropriate response to a disputed bill is to mail a letter. "Dr. Smith I have reviewed my last statement. It appears that payment owed for services rendered is $X, and $X have been paid on my behalf. Please review my account and advise me of your findings."

    Exactly $25 is likely an insurance co-pay that the patient owes. Patient is wrong that 1)he did not owe the money 2)that the clinic is obligated to accept payment in pennies.

    The intent of dumping 2500 pennies is to cause a disruption and a nuisance. The charges against him are reasonable.

    Grow up, play nice.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    June 7, 2011 8:40 a.m.

    MOS was 71331: He didn't dump them on the floor. They can[t make him go anywhere else if his primary doctor is in that clinic.

  • goitalone w bountiful, ut
    June 7, 2011 9:04 a.m.

    Last year I went into a surgical center for a serious procedure. At the admitting desk, I presented my insurance card and ID along with an itemized firm quotation from the doctor and the center outloining my exact fees for the procedure. All of this was done in advance to be certain there would be no surprises upon arrival for the procedure.

    The clerk filed the paperwork and asked me for an additional payment of $1,320.00. I politely showed her on the quote where that amount was shown by the insurance company as 100% covered. She still demanded payment, which I reluctantly paid.

    Six months later, I received a check from the center for @1,320.00, with the explanation of the overpayment. No apology. While glad to have the money back, I rolled my eyes at how blatantly and incorrectly the clerk had ignored the evidence in fron of her.

    Don't ever believe clerks don't make errors. I cannot believe the "penny" guy was cited for conduct. Get Larry the Cable Guy, "Only in America".

    The only thing worse than stupidity is making other people pay for it.

  • FredEx Salt Lake, Ut
    June 7, 2011 9:09 a.m.

    Sounds like they called the penny marshall. Our did they just call Penny Marshall? I guess Jason West was the shlameel and the clinic lady was the shlamazel...

  • YtxPat Sugar Land, TX
    June 7, 2011 9:17 a.m.

    If Jason has to pay a fine, I will pay .01 towards it.

  • toshi1066 OGDEN, UT
    June 7, 2011 9:55 a.m.

    Shall we take up a collection to pay his court fees? I'm certain we can find that many pennies in our penny banks...

  • Wrong again American Fork, UT
    June 7, 2011 10:41 a.m.

    The clerk was wrong to get so upset as to call the cops. I would have just taken the bag of coins to my bank or credit union at the end of the work day. They have a machine that separates and counts the coins. Then take the receipt back and post to the customers account. No need to bring the power hungry police in on this or get upset and count pennies.

  • A Guy With A Brain Enid, OK
    June 7, 2011 12:38 p.m.

    Fed-up Customer: 1

    Stupid Doctor's Receptionist: 0

  • phgreek Hooper, UT
    June 7, 2011 1:08 p.m.

    @ Floyd Johnson

    Well Floyd, you are assuming quite a bit...best I can tell, no one protested his method of payment until after he left...in fact they provided a receipt, supporting the fact this was indeed acceptable payment. Nor could I tell if there was a sign posted saying the denomintaions accepted...No protest, no prior notification...so while an adept citation...not sure blind application of your citation in this case works...just what I see.

    Now on to the spirit of this discussion...sounds like the guy had been trying to bring the issue to the attention of the clinic staff. Sounds like they kinda know they are the only game in town there in Vernal UT, which means I'm not shocked to hear they are not very customer focused.

    Seems like Penny Man used a little humor to call attention to an issue. As I read the posts on here...I am begining to wonder if we don't have something more going on at this clinic than simply bad customer service...We shall see.

  • Gramma of 7 Lehi, Utah
    June 7, 2011 1:39 p.m.

    I'm sure glad I don't live in Vernal. This is absolutely over the top. Poor guy. I hope the charges are dropped--can't believe they were made to begin with.

  • earthstorm25 LYNCHBURG, VA
    June 7, 2011 2:09 p.m.

    I had to re-read this when I first saw it because I couldn't believe that it a) resulted in a citation and b) made the news. Since it did I will add my two cents. As has been pointed out pennies are legal tender. That it would take a lot of time to count was the point. Having had an occasional issue such as this myself I applaud what he did.
    The clinic staff COMPLETELY

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    June 8, 2011 8:51 a.m.

    Well I can understand how the office staff thinks they were rudely treated. Any one showing any sign of superiority is a threat to most medical office staffs. the office staff was laughed at and snickers were heard. Their rudeness was challenged and they had egg on their face. So they had to press charges what else could they do let the next person in line see they can stand up to them.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    June 8, 2011 8:53 a.m.

    Floyd Johnson: Pennies are legal tender, they have to take them.

  • Emophiliac Vernal, UT
    June 8, 2011 12:01 p.m.

    The Vernal Express does have some photos from the Basin Clinic, showing the counter where the guy dumped his pennies. It doesn't look to me like a couple of pennies fell off the counter - more like half of them. I suspect he isn't as innocent as he lets on. It might be interesting to see if the Clinic has any video of the incident. Might be worth going to Court that day.